We have a Gamecube for the kids, mainly because their titles tend to be less graphically violent or mature. I have an XBox of my own, and can confess to a lengthy period with a monkey called “Halo” on my back.
Peter, I understand the instinct to bargain your way to a “good”
electric keyboard instead of a “bad” videogame system. There is no doubt that videogames are addictive (to certain kids, anyway (and certain adults)) and we have to constantly monitor their use.
But there is no doubt in my mind that videogaming has had an upside for my boys. Most obviously, it provides a common ground for socialization for them and their friends. They all talk the same language and play the same games. But beyond that, I found that playing the more challenging, goal-oriented games (as opposed to say, a racing game) has taught my boys about adversity, and how to overcome through perserverance. My older boy (age 11) kind of has the world on a string — he’s gorgeous, well-liked and brilliant, I tell you with all bogus humility. But videogames are tough, and he has fought his way through tears of frustration many times to “beat” them. Now of course, I wouldn’t mind if he were perservering similarly in his mastery of the piano (two lessons and out), but I genuinely feel he has at least learned that things that are hard require extended effort, and that he’s up to it.
My wife would counter that I am out of my mind and that the games are a plague on our house.